Texas Court Blocks State from Investigating Families of Transgender Youth

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
March 11, 2022 7:00 pm

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Travis County District Court issued an injunction today blocking the State of Texas from implementing a new directive that targeted trans youth. The directive ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent transgender children with medically necessary treatment. The directive could have led to transgender youth being placed in foster care and parents criminally charged with child abuse.

“The court’s decisive ruling today brings some needed relief to trans youth in Texas but we cannot stop fighting,” said Brian Klosterboer, ACLU of Texas attorney. “Today’s witnesses — including a parent targeted by these attacks, experts on medical care, and a supervisor within Texas Child Protective Services — gave courageous and emotional testimony about the fear and harm caused by these unlawful actions. All trans young people deserve to live freely as their true selves.”

The decision came at the end of a day-long hearing in a lawsuit filed on behalf of two parents — a DFPS employee and her spouse with a transgender child — and Dr. Megan Mooney, a licensed psychologist who is considered a mandatory reporter under Texas law and cannot comply with the governor’s directive without harming her clients and violating her ethical obligations.

“We feel relieved and vindicated that the judge understood the magnitude and breadth of the harm that would have resulted if Texas’ child welfare agency — at the direction of the governor — were allowed to continue enforcing this lawless directive,” said Paul Castillo, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal. “Parents who love their transgender children and work with healthcare providers to support and affirm their well-being should be celebrated, rather than investigated as criminals as the state sought to do here. We are grateful that the judge issued an order today preventing enforcement of these directives statewide against any family in Texas, and made clear that no one who counts as a mandatory reporter can be forced to turn in families for investigation simply for doing what is right for their child.”

“The judge recognized the governor and DFPS’s actions for what they were — unauthorized and unconstitutional exercises of power that cause severe, immediate, and devastating harms to transgender youth and their families across Texas,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ & HIV Project. “We are relieved for Texas families and will never stop fighting for trans justice.”

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Baker Botts LLP.

Additional legal documents are available here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/doe-v-abbott

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